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12 Things Alberta Can Do To Punish British Columbia For Blocking the Trans Mountain Pipeline

rachel-notley-john-horganMany people, and politicians (which are also people ūüôā ) have suggested that Alberta cut off the oil supply to British Colombia in an effort to punish the BC Premier, John Horgan.¬† While that is one possibility, there are other things that can be done.

Some options are reasonable, some are draconian and some of them are just not possible.

Here are most of the options available to Alberta:

  1. Block BC Workers – This is possible but not likely:
    • it would be very disruptive to business as the two provinces have a largely integrated work force
    • it would annoy BC workers, many of which are in the oil sector, and they are some of Alberta’s biggest boosters in BC so it would be counterproductive to send them home
      .
  2. bc-site-c-dam-mapNot Buy Electricity From BC – This is doable and in fact has already started
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In 2018 China Will Add Forest The Size of Ireland & Start Building The Worlds First Forest City

Chinese-soldiers-plant-treesChina’s State Forestry Administration announced that they will add 66000 square kilometers of of trees in 2018 in an effort to reduce pollution.¬† That is nearly the size of Ireland.¬† This massive investment is part of their Paris Accord commitment to forest the area about three times the size of the entire United Kingdom by 2030.

To make this happen, China will use state employees and tens of thousands of soldiers.

Liuzhou-Forest-City-groundsPart of this unparalleled tree planting effort will take place in what China calls Forest Cities in 6 key regions of the country:

  • Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region
  • Pearl River Delta in south China
  • Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan in central Hunan Province
  • Yangtze River Delta
  • northwestern Shaanxi and Gansu provinces
  • the central plains

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kinder-morgan-trans-mountain-pipeline-map

Twinning the Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Is Now Too Big To Fail

Should the Province of Alberta buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Kinder-Morgan if they want to walk away from the project?¬† That question was posed to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley today and she responded with an emphatic ‘Yes!’.

It has become abundantly clear, whether you are for or opposed to this particular pipeline or not, that having the relatively simple twinning of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline fail to be built would signify the end of even medium scale infrastructure projects in Canada.

kinder-morgan-trans-mountain-pipeline-mapThere will always be interest groups and affected people that have some legitimate claim against a large project.  The standard for projects should not be keeping everyone happy.  The standard for infrastructure projects MUST be if they are in the national interest.  That national interest contains a giant list important factors including:

  • environmental concerns
  • affected citizens needs and wants
  • global competitiveness concerns
  • financial concerns
  • public safety

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sad-mark-zuckerberg-facebook

Facebook’s Problems Just Keep Getting Bigger

Below is a list of current serious Facebook legal issues:

  1. sad-mark-zuckerberg-facebookThe Canadian Federal Government and the Province of BC agreed to join the separate investigations into Facebook user data being sent to AggegateIQ (part of the Cambridge Analytica scandal)
  2. Facebook just admitted they did know about the Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election, in 2016
  3. Facebook has temporarily walked away from a major project to use their data in Hospitals to improve patient outcomes
  4. Facebook has just shut down¬†AggegateIQ¬†‘s account for improving receiving data from Cambridge Analytica
  5. Facebook apologized to a notable Myanmar group because Mark Zuckerberg’s claims of how Facebook is effectively responding to hate speech and used Myanmar as an example.¬† The groups involve claim that Facebook was actually quite slow to respond and that they cleaned up their own mess.
  6. Brazil fined Facebook $33M for not turning over WhatsApp data (that Facebook is almost certainly unable to turn over because the information is encrypted)
  7. The US Government is requiring Mark Zuckerberg to appear in front of the
    1. US House of Representatives Committee on April 11th
    2. US Senate Committee on April 10th

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dutch-prison-refugees-temporary-housing

The Dutch Have Reduced Prison Populations 50% AND Crime 39% in a Decade

In the last decade the Dutch have reduced prison inmate populations by 50% and those sentences average to about 90 days in jail.  Many people expected this drastic reduction of inmates to lead to a notable increase in crime because:dutch-prison-refugees-temporary-housing

  1. Dangerous, proven criminals are being quickly released back onto the street
  2. There is virtually no deterrent effect to being jailed in the Netherlands

Contrary to this expectation the fact is that Dutch system has also reduced crime by nearly 40%.

As you can see in the image to the right, the Dutch now use their old prisons as temporary housing for some refugees.

How can that be?  In simple terms, it turns out that after thousands of years of trying different forms of incarceration and punishment that Europeans have figured out:

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nigerian-dirty-oil

How Killing The Canadian Oil Industry Is a Formula For Environmental Disaster

Today Bloomberg’s¬†Michael Bellusci wrote an article explaining that Canadian oil and gas companies are in deep trouble. ¬†Here is an excerpt:

Canada‚Äôs Energy Industry Faces ‚ÄėExtinction‚Äô Without M&A, BMO Says

On the same day, Global News reported:

Feds to spend $280k to study why Canada’s oil and gas sector is falling behind

The federal government plans to spend up to $280,000 for a new study¬†on Canada‚Äôs competitiveness in the oil and gas industry as investment lags and the United States offers new incentives for companies to move south…iea-world-energy-demand-change-2016-2040
Source: globalnews.ca/news/4123026/oil-and-gas-canada-falling-behind-study/

In general terms the issue is that with low oil prices, oil companies see better places in the world to put their money than Canada. ¬†Oil & Gas “activists” will initially claim a victory here because they have had some impact on making it difficult to get Canadian Oil and Gas to both international and domestic markets.

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donald-trump-in-heaven

Donald Trump’s Heaven Clock

donald-trump-in-heavenA man died and went to Heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.

He asked, ‘What are all those clocks?’

St. Peter answered, ‘Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone who has ever been on earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock move.’

‘Oh’, said the man. ‘Whose clock is that?’

‘That’s Mother Teresa’s’, replied St. Peter. ‘The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie.

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facebook-cambridge-anaytica-kogan-nix-bannon-mercer-connections-theguardian

Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal Is a Crisis For All Online Companies

There is a crisis at Facebook because of the constant negative media coverage of the Cambridge Analytica scandal causing users to question staying on the product and that has caused Facebook stock drop a truly staggering $70B in value in 11 days.¬† It’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, owns 28.2% of the company so he has lost $20B personally.facebook-scandal-stock-price-drop-70b-zukerberg$20b-11-days

There is a also crisis being experienced by some Facebook users that have finally realized Facebook and nearly all other ‘free’ online services are harvesting personal data to allow others to micro-target advertising at them.¬† WHO DIDN’T KNOW THIS ALREADY?¬† Apparently millions of people thought Facebook was some benevolent do-gooder, that provided a complex service for free because they were nice people.

The saying in the industry holds as true today as it did in the¬†1999 when it was coined: “You are not the customer; you are the product“.

The only ethically questionable behavior by Facebook in this current crisis, was corrected way back in the spring of 2015.  That issue was the ability of users to share not only their own information, but that of their friends (if those friends had not changed default privacy settings).

Facebook made USD$40B in 2017 and that was another record amount for them.  They did this by monitoring you, figuring out what you might be interested in and then allowing advertisers to target you personally, just like they said they would.

The along came Cambridge Analytica who used a large set of Facebook user data and figured out patterns they could use to apply to other Facebook users.  Cambridge Analytica organized the social media efforts for the Donald Trump Presidential campaign and now it is a political crisis too.

It is important to note that:

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Should You Have The Right To Know You Are Talking To An AI Bot?

The US congress now has an Artificial Intelligence “Caucus” considering regulating how Artificial Intelligence (AI). ¬†One the items they are looking into is figuring out if citizens should have a right to know that they are talking / chatting with an Artificially Intelligent piece of software or a human.

Many people feel tricked when they find out that they have been talking or chatting with an AI when the default assumption has been that people are talking or chatting with human representatives of the company in question.  Given the situation today and the obvious fact that AI conversations are going to become more and more human like, it is understandable that governments want to consider the implications.

This 8 minute video covers the FUTURE OF AI ACT that has just been introduced in the US Congress, which focuses on the military and is more broader than our narrow discussion about rights, but it does give you a sense of what is being considered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hTQEqB5y9c

After some careful consideration however, the only scenario we could come up with in which a human really needs to understand that they are not talking to a human representative, was emergency services like 911. ¬†The argument with emergency services is simply that during a crisis (shooting, heart attack…) there may be nuances (tone, slurred speech…) that a human can take from a conversation that AI’s cannot.

We are not suggesting that AI’s can not be very useful in emergency services communications (think about alerts, routing… that can all be done much faster, more accurately and more calmly by an AI than a human). ¬†We are suggesting that in real emergencies human callers should know if they are talking to an AI or another human.

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Bankruptcy of Gun Maker Remington Signifies Nothing For the Anti-Gun Lobby

remington-firearmsToday the United States oldest gun maker Remington Outdoor Company Inc, which owns Remington Arms, filed for Bankruptcy protection.¬† The anti-gun lobby has taken this as a sign that the guns and gun companies are finally starting to decline.¬† Unfortunately, Remington’s collapse is only a sign of bad management and will do nothing to stem the tide of easy to find, cheap guns.

Remington expanded production several in the Obama era, especially after Sandy Hook, as Americans feared their misunderstood second amendment rights were going to be taken away, resulting in spiking gun sales.  Then after the flip flopping sometimes NRA supporter Donald Trump became President, all gun manufacturers including Remington found that sales declined because there was little fear of new gun restrictions.

In 2007 high profile private equity firm Cerberus bought Remington and started loading up the debt.¬† In the end Remington took on nearly 1 Billion (yes, that is a “B”) in debt and was stuck with huge inventories they could not sell to service that debt.

timeline-of-gun-sales-in-america-2000-2017

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You Owe $60,000 – Welcome To Alberta’s Avoidable $100B Debt Crisis

Last week the NDP Alberta Government introduced yet another budget without any cuts in it.  Instead they are relying on growth to balance the budget by 2023 leaving us with colossal debt of about $96B.

Citizens, including me, do not seem to grasp numbers larger than about $10M so some context is key to understanding.  To put that debt in perspective, there are just over 4 million people in Alberta, which makes YOUR personal portion of the Provincial debt $24,000.  Statistics Canada shows that Alberta averages 2.5 people per household.  This means your household will owe $60,000.

The Canadian Tax Payers Federation calculates that the Alberta’s debt is currently increasing at a rate of $315.80 per second.

Let’s contrast that number of other Provinces.

How Much Debt Do BC Citizens Owe?

Both the previous Liberal and current NDP governments in British Columbia have been on similar spending sprees¬†and while certainly not as deep, BC has had many similar economic problems to Alberta in recent years.¬† Think about BC’s primary industries (Oil collapse, softwood lumber disutes…).¬† However, in February 2018 their NDP Finance minister announced:

‚ÄúGovernment’s direct operating debt is projected to be eliminated in 2018-19, one year earlier than forecast. This will be the first time government has been direct operating debt-free in over 40 years.‚ÄĚ

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